Obama Visit, Rockefeller Tree Lighting to Make Midtown Even More Unbearable Today

By
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11:  Workers raise the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on November 11, 2011 in New York City. This year's tree is a 74-foot Norway Spruce and was cut down November 9 in Mifflinville, Pennsylvania and then moved to Manhattan on a flatbed trailer. The lighting of the tree is the traditional start to the holiday season in New York City.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The tree comin'. Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images

Here is something really American: President Barack Obama will be in New York City for a fund-raiser today, which happens at the same time as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting extravaganza, making it more or less impossible to drive in midtown from about 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. (One traffic expert is calling it the "biggest gridlock alert day of the decade.") Obama, who is "still evolving" on gay marriage, will attend a "small reception to celebrate the progress in the LGBT community" at the Sheraton on Seventh Avenue, where tickets range from $10,000 to $35,800. To accommodate his travel plans, there will be "frozen zones" around the city starting at 5 p.m. The tree party features performances by Cee Lo Green and Michael Buble. Justin Bieber's part of the show was pre-recorded, so at least the city planned ahead.